Two panhandlers charged in turf fight in Fairbanks

August 6, 2010 

FAIRBANKS -- A confrontation between a man dressed as a super hero and a panhandling Alaska couple has resulted in misdemeanor assault charges against the couple. Phillip Ross Williams, 50, and Rita Carol Stidger, 45, were accused of threatening the costumed man because he was panhandling in "their" spot.

Fairbanks police were called to the intersection of the Johansen Expressway and Hunter Street, a popular site in Fairbanks for panhandlers, on Tuesday after witnesses said they saw two people confronting the costumed panhandler wearing a mask and blue tights with red briefs on the outside.

Fairbanks police officer Chris DeLeon described the outfit as "something my kid would wear," resembling the outfits worn by Power Ranger or Transformers characters.

"I don't know if the briefs came with the outfit or what," DeLeon said.

The man, identified in charging documents as Isaiah Solomon, 23, was holding a sign and seeking money for school from passersby.

According to police, Williams and Stidger approached Solomon and asked him to vacate their spot or have his head "bashed in" with a rock. He refused, and Williams reportedly threw a rock at Solomon's head before running away.

Williams and Stidger have previous misdemeanor convictions. Both were released Wednesday after pleading not guilty to the assault charges.

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Information from: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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